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The scene of reviving public art and local culture: Special interview 02
Hong Gun Sun, Director of Busan Design Center

Hong Gun-sun (Applied Art 80) Born in 1960, the Hong Kong-based Busan Design Center was awarded a master’s degree from Seoul National University’s Industrial Design Department and Korea University Graduate School. Since 2009, he has been working as a design planner for Seoul’s public design and design policy from 2009, and he has been appointed as the 4 chief director of the Busan Design Center in 2012 and is trying to develop public design in Busan. Is there any memorable teaching in the 80s? Many teachers have been taught well, but many of them are memorable. I do not have any time, I have to take classes until late in the evening, The teacher has always emphasized the importance of a rational answer to the question “why.” It was a great teaching to constantly awaken to the right design. I still remember that designers should always be able to answer the question “why.”

I wonder what kind of philosophy you have in running public design. Public design in Korea seems to be exaggerated. ‘Public’ has a public meaning from the moment you leave the gate. Even if it is a wall of your own home, it can be ‘violence’ to others if it is outside. It is important to recognize that the external environment is a collective. I hope that this concept of publicness is communicated to the public in the public sphere. It is also a matter for the designer to play a role in this society. When you design, you concentrate on styling by focusing on what you want to focus on and what to do well on your design. Therefore, first of all, we must think about the role of the designer in the context of the whole, so that we can do the right design.

What do you think is the difference between Seoul and Busan? The difference between Seoul and Busan seems to be bigger than you think. Busan is said to be the second city, and Korea seems to be divided into Seoul and province. There are a lot of things that are not enough to enjoy the cultural infrastructure and opportunities for experience in Seoul and the provinces. I think local public institutions should play a role in overcoming such differences.

Please talk about public design and politics. Design and politics seem to be very close in a country where politics, like our country, has great influence on the whole country. Especially in the public sphere. In many businesses in the public sector, it is important to think about what role the designer can play when the use of design is increasing. Politics criticizes design as “exploitation,” but if you understand the nature of politicians, is not that a natural use? It is natural for politicians to use design, so it is important to think about what role the designer will play in such a situation before calling it “abuse.” Our design also has to make good use of politics. In other words, if the role of designers is established and settled in such a reality, designers will be able to benefit appropriately from the national budget, and I think that there will be more opportunities for better design and more opportunities. Therefore, it is important to actively engage the designers to ensure that the correct design results are achieved. We need active participation and criticism on systems that are distorted by wrong politics.

What projects did you find most rewarding in public design projects? There is the Busan Crime Prevention Environmental Design Project *, which is being piloted by the Busan Design Center. When I was in Seoul City Hall two years ago, I was interested in it. If I had been used to create a city with a design appeal so far, I thought I needed a design policy that would help my everyday life. For example, designing a safe environment for crime is a new role for design in society. This also makes sense in terms of the social awareness of the designer and the expansion of the area. Crime is more important than punishment. As more and more violent crimes grow and become more intelligent, police force alone has its limitations. Therefore, it is essential that various subjects gather to develop the power to create their own environment. Therefore, the Busan Design Center is developing the environmental design guideline so that it can apply the business to the whole of Busan.

What do you think about the current situation of public design? I think it is lack of publicness. The fact that street banners and outdoor advertising floods, over-expressing the names of organizations and institutions, indiscriminate use of irritating colors, indiscriminate infringement of public spaces, and so on, are the biggest Factor. Even if you do not use sanctions by law, you do not paint the walls of your home with glittering freely. I have to keep in mind that my actions that others hate are violence. So in public design, you should avoid over-expressing the color or taste of individuals, the colors or slogans of some organizations, except for some special places. The same goes for individuals as well as institutions. Public agencies often say that all their activities are public, but in fact they are not. As a public agency, banners should not be placed outside the designated area.

What role do you think design can play in terms of reviving local culture in Busan? Pusan ​​is close to the sea, and marine fisheries industry is high. So, culture related to the sea is the main thing, and this is the symbol of Busan. Currently, the Busan Design Center is planning on marine and fishery related projects. First of all, in order to improve the value of Pusan ​​aquatic products, we are carrying out design support projects such as CI, BI packaging, and brand. Is not the consumption of aquatic products decreasing due to radioactive pollution of aquatic products caused by the accident in Japan nuclear power plant recently? Although many experts talk about safety about domestic marine products, the consumer sentiment about marine products is shrinking. It seems that the psychological factors of aquatic products play a big role. Therefore, we analyze the psychological factors and think about the role of design in service design for appropriate and safe consumption of aquatic products. Currently, we have developed several products on the subject of mackerel, a representative fish species of Busan, and some of them have begun to sell. It is relatively responsive and I will continue to expand it.

Interview: Kim Bo Seop (Design 98)

written by jungmin.han
November 16, 2017